PERFORMERS from the small British Caribbean island of Anguilla featured prominently at Carifesta XIV’s country night at the the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Monday.
The country nights at Carifesta allow spectators to experience the culture of all of the participating countries.
Originally scheduled to begin at 7 pm, day three of country night started 40 minutes late. The stage crew appeared to be doing last-minute checks ahead of showtime.
The crowd in the Grand Stand was small early in the evening but gradually increased after 7 pm.
The show began with performers from Montserrat in costumes, which appeared to be a cross between a local jab jab and pierrot grenade, doing a series of dances to the rhythm of drums and flutes.
They were followed by Anguilla, whose performers paid tribute to the historical ties between their country and TT. They told the audience that long before Anguilla became known as “tranquillity wrapped in blue” because of its beautiful beaches and five-star hotels, it was known for its salt ponds, which contained what was described as “sweet salt” and worth its weight in gold to Anguilla. The performers said Anguilla had regular salt shipments to TT’s oil refineries until the industry officially closed in 1986. Cheaper salt from Cuba and the unavailability of boats travelling between Anguilla and TT were believed to have been some of the reasons for the closure of the salt industry.
But the performers said while the industry came to an end, salt remains an integral part of Anguilla’s culture.
They portrayed the history of the salt industry in Anguilla through songs, dances, poetry and drama. The songs were performed by Charisma Jones-Chin, Tyree Peters and Rebecca Webster (Queen B), and the poetry and drama by the Stages Anguilla Drama Group. The Cayman Islands followed Anguilla. Vocalist Vashti Bodden delighted the crowd with a mix of soca and reggae music. Bodden told the audience that in the Cayman Islands, the people love Carnival too. Her musical repertoire also includes jazz, blues and pop.
Bodden identified Bob Marley and the Wailers, Rihanna and Katy Perry amongst the performers who influenced her music. Jamaica’s performers ended country night with songs and dances in keeping with their theme – Jamaica to the World.
Carifesta XIV continues with events at the Savannah, National Academy for the Performing Arts and other venues until Sunday. The festival ends on that day with a closing ceremony from 4-8 pm at the Savannah. This will be followed by an afterparty at the same venue from 8 pm.